I admit it, I’m a football fan. After all of the kneeling controversy earlier in the season, I was caught up in the moment and thought seriously about boycotting the sport. As a strong supporter of the military with 2 folded flags on my mantle, handed to my family graveside by a grateful nation I struggled with the anthem protests. But I reluctantly acknowledged that being American is to be supportive of peaceful protest even if I don’t agree with it. I hate that I was caught up in the jingoistic Nationalism that consumed us, loving your country means loving all of the people in it, not just those that you agree with. Open-mindedness prevailed.
I love football. The strategy, the athleticism, the fact that every game matters, that it is never over until the last minute. David can slay Goliath any given Sunday. It is a team sport, all must bring their best, one mistake, one play can decide a game. Coaching, play calling, cardio training and pure balls all play a role in a win. And no one does it better than the New England Patriots.
Are you groaning, about to hit the back tab? I know, everyone hates the Patriots. Perhaps everyone is sick of us winning. I didn’t feel that way about the Cowboys of the 90’s, “America’s team”. I rooted for them anyway. They were awesome. The Pats don’t have the same level of respect. It’s a shame, because the rest of the country needs to see what we see.
Our coach is constantly compared to the Landry, Shula and Lombardi era. Yet they never coached in a 16 game, salary-cap, 32-team free agency environment. It was a very different game. Despite injuries, constantly rotating personnel, a lack of major name talent and contract issues Bill Belichik continues to find people to fit his system. Players that were nothing on other teams become stars in New England. It is a business model, one that guarantees success. Bill is hard-nosed, demands excellence, favors no one and is the first one in and the last one out. Like a CEO, excellence is his product. And their manager of consistency…the GOAT (greatest of all time) Mr. Tom Brady.
Tom Brady may be the handsome face of success now, modeling expensive clothes and sporting 5 huge rings. But he wasn’t always. He was a very low draft choice, underestimated by everyone. The Patriots picked him as a backup. Little did they know the fire inside. In 2001, when our starter was knocked out for the season we saw the beginning of an era. The man is all about hard work, winning and constantly improving. Now 40, having shattered almost every record for a starting quarterback, he is on a plane on a quest for his 6th Superbowl victory.
It’s more than football. It’s a life lesson. Let people underestimate you, there will be an opportunity to prove them wrong. Hard work equals success, always. Humility allows for continued growth. He never takes credit for the win, he knows it takes someone to catch the ball that he throws and a defense to keep them in the game. He never settles, the best ring is the next one. Team first, he has taken pay cuts to stay with the Patriots. It has been a pleasure watching him.
I know what it is like to be a long-suffering fan. We weren’t always like this. Previous to this remarkable 18-year era we were a consistently bad team. Now, I will admit that we are spoiled. We expect them to win. This will not last forever. We will lose Bill, Tom will retire and we will rebuild. I can take comfort in knowing that I have witnessed one of the most fantastic, https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/29/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-29th-2018/ surreal eras in sports history. One that I will speak of for decades. Being a fan is a good thing, being a loyal fan is great. Being a fan of this team is a joy.